1. Two hard boiled eggs per breakfast

2. One fifth of two long (Japanese) cucumbers cut into very thin slices

3. Perhaps a tablespoon of butter per container whipped with grainy mustard

4. Enjoy

For most of my life, say about twenty years, I enjoyed cereal for breakfast every morning. I’m definitely a creature of habit, and I loved waking up and pouring the contents from the box into my bowl, then drenching it with milk. When I was younger it was honey nut cherrios. Later it was raisin bran or frosted mini wheats. In terms of convenience, cereal can’t be beat.

I’ve never had the best digestion, but after living in Beijing for two years my system was really messed up. I had probably last thrown up in elementary school, but there it seemed, particularly in winter, that I had near constant nausea, and sometimes I would throw up several times in one month. Sure, Norovirus went around, and probably not everything I ate was either cooked sufficiently or of the highest quality (the milk scandal happened while I was there), but I thought there could be something more to it, particularly as I would sometimes also get wrenching pains in my stomach. My mother has celiac disease and while a blood test after college said I didn’t have that, I thought I might as well cut down on gluten. Plus, I discovered cereal was really expensive in New York, and when I first moved back I didn’t have a job. Gluten free cereal is even more expensive. I started with gluten free cereal, then switched to yogurt with nuts, and was pretty happy with that for awhile.

But then I got a job and had to be somewhere early in the morning. I had also started reading more about nutrition and was reconsidering how sweet breakfast needed to be. So now that I’ve come untethered from a cereal breakfast I have yet to find the perfect breakfast solution. This one here is pretty satisfying and leaves my stomach happy, but when I eat breakfast around 7:40 and lunch at 12:20, and watch others eating snacks in between, it doesn’t always keep me for all that time. I may need to add more butter, or eat some other snack more satisfying than a carrot. Other breakfasts I’ve tried in the past include the Primal Breakfast Casserole (very convenient to make ahead, but a little much first thing in the morning), smoothies (I may go back, but I can’t decide how much yogurt [dairy] I want to eat, and some combinations again sit funny first thing in the morning, or are overly sweet).

This breakfast started out more simply. For a long time I just quickly ate two hard-boiled eggs for breakfast, sometimes with salt or some other topping like garlic powder. Sometimes, after seeing my Chinese student once happily chomp a cucumber for her breakfast when she arrived late for school, I would add a hunk of  cucumber to it. Sometimes I also had a hunk of carrot. This is slightly more complicated, but not too difficult, and particularly because I just break the egg up with my spoon when I eat it all together, it doesn’t take too long to prepare (for awhile I was chopping the eggs into slices. Big mess).

So if you’re looking for a new, tasty breakfast idea that travels well, this just might be your answer.

Broken down:

1. Hard-boil ten eggs. Cover them in water (and perhaps add baking soda — I’ve heard it makes them easier to peel), bring the water to a boil and immediately turn the heat off, then let them sit for roughly seventeen minutes.


2. Stop the boiling process. I’ve read to put them in ice cubes. I’m lazy and after I put them in a container I put them in a freezer, but have discovered I have to set a timer (about half an hour). I always think I’ll remember on my own and don’t, and end up with weirdly frozen eggs. They taste watery and smell bad when they defrost.





3. Get some butter out so it will raise to room temperature, so it’s easier to whip. I go through the process of making the breakfast the next day, as I’ve found the eggs are easier to peel if I’ve waited a day. Haven’t tried it yet with baking soda — maybe I won’t have to wait a day.


4. Cut up the cucumber.


5. Peel the eggs. I’ve heard this technique works for people but I have not been able to get it to work. However I still poke holes in each end and blow on it because it seems to loosen it up, and I can often pull the peel off in big chunks. Yes, it is entertaining to watch me make my breakfast.


6. Whip the butter. I recently got a small food processor so I suspect that works better, but for now I’ve just been mashing it.



Adding mustard, yum.



Five days’ worth all mixed up.


7. Add it all together and discard remnants.


Breakfast is served!


What do you eat for breakfast?